This restaurant is just getting better and better. The sourcing of the ingredients is extraordinary and way above bistro quality.
How many bistros do you know that serve echire butter? From their website: “A famed artisan French butter, from the milk of cows of the small village of Poitiers and La Rochelle. Known as one of the best butters in France, Echire butter is served in the finest dining establishments (which is why the French covet this butter and keep 85% of the production within France). This sophisticated butter won AOC protected status, and is produced mostly by hand. A light texture, light salting and subtle flavor make this butter just about divine.”
Light as air gougeres
Salt cod beignets with saffron aioli. These are addictive and the aioli (not pictured) would make Chef Manzke a fortune.
Iced Kumamoto Oysters – I love Kumamoto oysters and anyone can say what’s the big deal about oysters on the half shell as long as they are fresh. Well, if you shell them badly you end up with grit. These were shelled perfectly!
BYO White Wine
Sardines, cherry tomatoes, white beans, arugula – an absolutely A+ dish. The white beans were actually a puree with rosemary, sage and olive oil. The dish was a bottom layer of toasted bread, then the white bean puree, then the sardines, the cherry tomatoes and topped with a bit of arugula – OH MY.
Gambas a la Nicoise – Santa Barbara spot prawns with cucumber, tomato, olives and a saucing of olive oil and lemon. We had these the last time we were at Church and State and what I wrote last time still applies: “look at the dice on the vegetables – it could have come out of the French Laundry kitchen.”
BYO Red Wine
Pate de campagna with green peppercorns, Duck liver with hazelnuts, Jambon persillade, rabbit pate, saucisson sec – wild boar and one with black truffles that cost $30 a pound – bistro – not even close.
Rillettes de Porc – Berkshire pork, prune confiture - this was even better than last time – absolutely perfect
Terrine de Foie Gras, port wine gelee – delicious
Brioche, Croutons and Pickled vegetables with the foie, rillettes and charcuterie
Hog Farm’s Asparagus, Morel Mushrooms, Poached Egg and a glorious mushroom/stock jus – this was one of the best asparagus spears I have ever tasted and Chef Manzke said it was his favorite. Again, this is just not bistro food – The sourcing of this is asapargus is extraordinary. Hog’s farms is the brainchild of Ray Franscioni who also owns Gary’s vineyards.
Ray and Dan Franscioni PO Box 7537 Spreckels, CA 831-455-9375
Markets: Aptos, Monterey and Carmel
History/Philosophy: Hog Farms got its name years ago when owner Ray Franscioni first drove out to see the property where we would eventually plant asparagus. As he tells it, the first thing he saw when he pulled up (besides the beautiful land, of course) was a pen with two HUGE hogs in it. He knew what he would name the farm right then and there. The hogs are no longer at the farm, but their spirit definitely lives on!
The farm was established over 30 years ago. Ray and Dan are second generation farmers and third generation when it comes to sales and marketing of the produce grown at the farm. In addition to asparagus, Hog Farms grows artichokes, spinach and mixed baby greens.
Gary Franscioni Gary’s roots in the Santa Lucia Highlands are quite deep. His family has farmed here for over 100 years. After graduating from Cal Poly with a degree in agribusiness, Franscioni took over management of the family farm business, which owned and managed more than 200 acres of row crops in the Salinas Valley. Recognizing the region’s potential for premium wine grapes, Franscioni turned his focus to viticulture. He and long time friend Gary Pisoni partnered on the Garys’ Vineyard in 1997. In 1996 Gary planted the 50-acre Rosella’s Vineyard – named for his wife – on their estate property just a few miles north of the Garys’ Vineyard. Both vineyards are among the most celebrated and coveted in California.
Turbot, English peas, Apple smoked bacon, Meyer lemon, Shimeji mushrooms – the turbot was cooked perfectly, but the “veggie” accompaniments were extraordinary.
Turbot – up close
Cassoulet de Toulouse – duck confit, pork belly, pork shoulder sausage, white beans – I was getting very full – this is not food for the faint of heart. I ate a bit of this, but then asked for a doggie bag and this was my Mother’s Day dinner – who needs France when you have Chef Manzke in the kitchen.
This is a wonderful restaurant and I only wish it was closer to the westside.